1977
Production Color & Trim Engines KwikSpecs

In 1964, United Artists released the third movie in a series which still sells theater's out today. The pontiac.com movie was "Goldfinger", and introduced a little known English car and company (though in Great Britain, steeped in tradition) to Americans. The company is Aston Martin and the car -the DB5.

Are you already you are scanning the link and the title to this page? Fear not, read on as there is a method to this madness.

How many Americans had heard of an Aston Martin before Goldfinger ? Not many, yet after being treated to this incredibly fast gadget laden sports coupe (let's see- machine guns, razor knock offs, gas generators, electronic maps, an assortment of other trinkets, and the coupe de' grace- the ejection seat!) became a household nameplate. The DB5 was James Bond, 007 . So popular was this car, it was featured in successive James Bond flicks.

Now jump ahead to 1977. There was this movie which was every bit as touted as the Bond series, and featured box office stars Burt Reynolds, Jerry Reed, Sally Fields, Jackie Gleason, and the newly restyled 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. "Smokey and the Bandit". Despite all the wit of Reynolds, the humor of Jerry Reed, the facial expressions of Gleason, and the innocence of Ms. Fields, the Trans Am truly was center stage. All of America not only knew about the Trans Am, now they wanted one.

Once America discovered the Trans Am, demand was so great in fact that production jumped twenty-thousand units , for a grand total of 68,744. There was a lot to like about the '77 T/A. It had a new look. It had a new engine. It's soul was renewed. Pontiac built a winner.

Starting at the front, a new "Batmobile" nose was introduced, combining the bumper and header panel into a single unit, made of deformable urethane. This allowed drivers to even be less careful as the worry of cracking the fibreglass header panel was gone. Within the fascia rested GM's latest styling innovation, square headlamps. These lamps added a refreshingly modern look to the car. The headlamps were surrounded by a one-piece grille/bezel assembly with a matte black (except Special Editions which received gold) honey comb grille texture and chrome edges.

The new front end also received the flattened hood of the '76 edition. The shaker (still non-functional) took on a more angular appearance, giving up the smooth rounded lines of past editions. Gone from the shaker was an easy to remove block off plate which nearly all of us removed to get more air to the engine. The new shaker had "fake" louvres on the back edge painted black, and could only be removed by sawing the louvres out. A "Trans Am" decal was on 1977 the upper part of the front fascia above the left headlamps, and the Pontiac crest was embedded into the pointed nose piece. The front parking lamps, still housed in chrome bezels, and were placed a recessed slot in the front bumper as was the case in 1976. An ABS pan loosely filled in the area between the bumper and frame. The pan still showed remnants of a front spoiler, now hacked down to barely over an inch deep. Additionally cooling slots punctuated this slot to keep the V8's running cool.

An all new wheel showed up in 1977, this time an all-aluminum 15" x 7" replacing the former "polycast" honeycomb wheel. These new wheels (RPO YJ8) were dubbed "snowflake" reflecting the wheels' general appearance. With the exception of Special Edition versions, all wheels had argent accents between the spokes. The wheels were cast rough, painted completely argent, then a machining process cut away the rough portion of the wheel. After the machining process, the outer face of the wheel was clearcoated to prevent oxidation of the aluminum. The result was a wheel, nicely accented with paint, in a manner that was nearly impossible to duplicate for those of us wishing to restore these wheels later. A bright, conical, center cap with Gold a flat spot for mounting the Firebird crested insert and chrome lug nuts finished the appearance. If you ordered a Y81 (non-T-Top) or Y82 (T-Top) Special Edition Trans Am, the wheels were given the same treatment, however gold replaced argent. Exceptions rule in the world of automobile manufacturing, and some of the gold wheels were machined and then painted, or left in the rough and painted leaving no exposed aluminum surfaces, but most examples I have seen are the ones with the paint machined away. GR70 x 15 steel belted radial tires (usually Uniroyal) were fitted as standard and could be either blackwall or raised white letter.

Inside, little was changed. New Lombardy custom cloth seats were the big change and improvement as they added a level of "grip" which the previous vinyl seats lacked. When the custom vinyl interior was ordered, Doeskin vinyl replaced the Tetra, while oxen remained the standard seat trim. The rear seat console, an extension fitted only to a handful of Trans Ams 1977 during the previous seven years of production, made it's last appearance. For now on, T/A would only have the carpet between the rear "bucket" seats. (Little problem for practical uses; I doubt the small children subjected to riding back there appreciated the console anyway!). It is ironic that a new feature for the '97 T/A is an extension of the main console for cupholders. Again the multi-toned interiors were offered; but only with vinyl trim.

At the end of the '76 model year, the 455 finally was laid to rest. GM had downsized their full-size cars for '77 and the 455 no longer fit the program, The bean counters weren't about to spend money certifying an entire displacement class for one carline. Instead of the 455, a pair of KwikSpecs 400's and a (gasp) Oldsmobile 403 could be ordered up. This marked the first application of a non-Pontiac engine in the Trans Am. This would be a grim prelude to the future.

The standard (RPO L78) Pontiac 400 (engine code XA ) was mostly carryover from '76, producing 180hp @ 3600 rpm and 325 lb/ft of torque at 1600 rpm, a 15 lb/ft improvement with a 5 hp loss versus the previous year's version. A low compression ratio of 7.6:1 was still employed. The base 400 was an automatic transmission only combination.

The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am utilized the new for 1977 Oldsmobile 403 V8 as an no-charge optional powerplant for all California and high-altitude residences. The engine was destined for GM's new full size cars from Oldsmobile and Buick, where it's abundance of low rpm torque could be put to good use. The Pontiac people also felt this torque would be a good combination with the automatic in the Trans Am. Also, by requiring this engine for all California and High-Altitude destined T/A's money could be saved by certifying only one engine. These (code U2, U3 high altitude and VA, VB when destined for California) engines are easily identified by the oil fill neck at the very front of the engine. Horsepower figures for the 403 were 185@3600 rpm, good for a 5 hp bump over the Pontiac 400, yet netted five less Lb/ft of torque (320) at a peakier 2200 rpm. The lower torque was mostly due to a larger bore and smaller stroke than the 400 (4.351 x 3.385 {403} vs. 4.12 x 3.75 {400}). The 403 also had a higher (8.0:1) compression ratio and were painted light blue. Because engine was required in high-altitude and Cailfornia bound vehicles, there was no additional charges (except for the automatic). 77

A revitalized Pontiac 400 was offered in 1977 to take the place of the recently departed 455. Named "T/A 6.6" (6.6 stood for 6.6 litres or 6600 cc, denoting GM's newfound affection for the metric system)the new engine featured a bumped up compression ratio (now 8.1: vs. 7.6:1) by bolting the smaller combustion chambered cylinder heads from the Pontiac 350 onto the 400 block. The cylinder heads were part number 500801 (the same as the 350 heads). Horsepower was bumped by twenty over the "base" Pontiac 400 motor and peak torque still equalled 325 lb/ft, but occurred 800 rpm higher in the rev range (2400 rpm). Engine ID codes for the T/A 6.6 were WV with a four speed and YG woth the automatic.

The comparisons between the two Pontiac 400's was not the issue, but instead how the Pontiac engineers were finally swinging the pendulum the other way concerning horsepower. For successive years, horsepower continued to decline as emissions tightened. First it was horsepower reductions for insurance sake, then came the impacts of "clean air" legislation, and now, new government imposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy ratings were just around the corner. But Pontiac, with their "timeless" Trans Am had weathered the storm. Performance was back and the T/A 6.6 pumped out the horsepower muscle of it's larger displacement forbearer, in a much more useable power band.

To add the additional appeal to the 200 hp engine, T/A 6.6 decals were fitted to the shaker and chrome valve covers (PN 547293-RH and 547294 LH) with a chrome oil filler cap were installed on the 6X cylinder heads. The price for this added performance was a mere $50.00 over the base 400.

But what about the bandit you ask? Well, 1977 was surely the year of the bandit, as black and gold Special Edition Trans Am's were the car to have. Patterned after the 1976 Pontiac Fiftieth Anniversary Limited Edition model, the '77 was basically carryover. Priced at $556.00 with out Hurst Hatches (Y81) and $1141.00 with (Y82) , the package included specific gold trimmed exterior appointments. Some of the S.E's also had "black chrome" splitter tail pipes, but most hadThe Trans Am callouts were still done gothic style as on the '76 (but without the 50th anniversary logo), the and there was enough gold tape on the car to trim the wall paper of a small house. But this was the look, and that was what was important. The black took on a near sinister appearance, with the gold accents lending a "custom" look. By continuing to extend the theme into the interior by including a formula steering wheel with gold spokes, and the instrument panel bezel and console trim plate, and door accents being finished in a gold simulated engine turned applique completed the task.

The Hurst hatches, still limited in production, were fitted primarily to S.E. cars. When all the 1977 cars were built, the Trans Am accounted for 44% of the total Firebird build. GM and Pontiac were certainly lining their pockets well with this one, as even though someone couldn't ante up the dollars for a T/A, their friendly Pontiac dealer still had Formula's, Esprit's and standard Firebirds to offer. Below is how the 1977 Trans Am production breaks down:

1977 Trans Am Production
ModelEngineRPOVIN CodeManaulAutomatic
Trans Am400L78Z29,313
Trans AmT/A 6.6W72Z8,31910,466
Trans Am403L80K5,079
Total Trans Am53,177
Trans Am SE (Y81)400L78Z748
Trans Am SE (Y81)T/A 6.6W72Z384549
Trans Am SE (Y81)403L80K180
Total Trans Am SE - Y811,861
Trans Am SE (Y82)400L78Z6,030
Trans Am SE (Y82)T/A 6.6W72Z2,6993,760
Trans Am SE (Y82)403L80K1,217
Total Trans Am SE - Y8213,706
Total Production68,744

The black and gold T/A surely created many a fantasy, and most owners completed the purchase with the obligitory "cowboy" hat. The movie "Smokey and the Bandit" furthered the starring role of the car showing off it's T-tops (or Hurst Hatches), the high speed potential, and the CB radio. The CB radio was so popular at this time, it was available as a factory installed option for $195.00, the prerequisite being you ordered an optional radio or at the very least a radio accomodation package.

The 1977 Trans Am certainly was the bright spot of the year for Pontiac and the base price for a Trans Am was $5,456.00 up $469.00 from the 1976 model. But you had a new look, a new style, and with an equally powerful 400 engine compared to the 455, a new level of efficiency.


Color & Trim Codes
Exterior ColorsCodeInterior Colors*Std TrimCodeCustom Trim Code
Cameo White
11
WhiteOxen11R1 Doeskin Vinyl 11N1
Sterling Silver
13
BlackOxen19R1 Doeskin Vinyl19N1
Starlite Black
19
BlackLombardy Cloth19B1
Goldenrod Yellow
51
BlueDoeskin Vinyl24N1
Brentwood Brown
69
Blue Lombardy Cloth24B1
Buccaneer Red
75
BuckskinOxen64R1 Doeskin Vinyl64N1
FirethornOxen71R1Doeskin Vinyl 71B1
FirethornLombardy Cloth71B1
Mixed Interiors
White/BlueOxen11R1/26XDoeskin Vinyl11N1/26X
White/TurquoiseOxen11R1/34XDoeskin Vinyl11N1/34X
White/SaddleOxen11R1/64XDoeskin Vinyl11N1/64X
White/FirethornOxen11R1/71XDoeskin Vinyl11N1/71X
Blue/WhiteDoeskin Vinyl92N1
Firethorn/WhiteOxen97R1Doeskin Vinyl97N1

1977 Trans Am Engines

CID-Version
Code
Trans
HP@RPM
Torque @RPM
400
XA
3A
180@3600
325@1600
400 - T/A 6.6
YG
3A
220@4000
320@2800
400 - T/A 6.6
WV
3A
220@4000
320@2800
403 (Olds)
U2, U3, VA, VB
3A
185@4800
320@2200
Rear Axle Identification Codes
Axle RatioCode
2.41PS
2.56PT
3.08PW
3.23PX

All ring gears are 8 1/2" and have positraction

Carburetor Usage
EngineTransmissionAxle RatioEmissionCarb #
400ManualAllAll17057263
400Automatic3.23:1All17057266
400Automatic2.41:1All17057274
403AutomaticAllAll17057274

Standard Equipment: Dual Body Color OSRV mirrors, LH remote; GR70x15 BSW radial tires, 4-speed manual transmission, Power assisted front disc brakes, Saf-T-Track differential, Power steering, Front and rear stabilizer bars, Rally II wheels, Space saver spare tire, Vinly bucket seats, Rally gages with clock and tach, Formula steering wheel, Front seat floor console, Rear air spoiler, Cigarette lighter, Shaker hood, Front air dam


Introduction
Year Selector
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981
Additional links:
Return to 2nd gen. Trans Am home page
1970 - The Start of Something Wonderful
1971 - Debut of the 455
1972 - The Lean Year
1973 - SD-455 and the screamin' chicken
1974 - Good Times...Bad Times
1975 - Soul Survivor
1976 - The Spirit of '76
1978 - Horsepower and Handling
1979 - "It will not pass this way again"
Return to Gary Lisk home page

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